We had a dining room growing up that we used for every meal – breakfast, lunch and dinner. I would even use it for afterschool snacks, if I wasn’t in front of the TV. My dining room was also where I completed my homework and many of my late night projects while listening to classical music on the Panasonic radio that also played Chinese music for my grandmother.

One of the things I never understood about Western homes is the “formal dining room” (and the formal living room). I found it very impractical and wasteful to have a room sit there unused except for special occasions.

My home now has a formal living room. Normally, our family of six squeezes in around a 3’x5′ dining table in our kitchen dining area but when we have guests, we will move our meals to the dining room.

In-between those larger meals, the room becomes our puzzle area and the spare space holds random knick-knacks, old art projects, items I need to post on Facebook marketplace and holiday decorations. It is even the choice spot for my middle one to hold their soccer cleats and shin guards between games.

Needless to say, the dining room had become a bit unruly from the lack of care and upkeep – likely from the fact that I find its existence questionable.

Today, I spent all day clearing it out and I think I’ll need to reacquaint myself with it. This room is as part of my house as any other room and deserves my care. I can also see my attitude being a reflection of my guilt in even having such a “wasteful” room.

As I think of the dining room right now, I am proud of the work put into it. I spent 3 months painting the room and its intricate dental trim – transforming the walls from a stark deep red to a pleasant bluish green and from a cream trim to white. I guess it’s time I embrace that I am the owner of a house with a formal dining room. It doesn’t make me wasteful, and the room itself is deserving of me and I of it.


I write everyday because it allows me to voice what is at the surface. Once that is out of my head, I can dig in another layer deeper. My daily writing practice has been my greatest exploration of self and humanity. Sign up here to receive these thought nuggets in your inbox on the daily.